Friday, May 28, 2010

God Love Fridays

The Return of Aunt God Love...

God love the 2.2lbs I lost on Weight Watchers this week.  God love the 2 point ice cream bars that made it possible, Sarah Lee Delightful bread, whole wheat pasta, Starbucks Skinny Vanilla Lattes, and a cold that made most things taste bland anyway.  Because you know that Fat makes food taste good, right.  Low fat= low taste.  No matter how you shake it.

God love my family, who visited last week.  Today I realized you only had Sun Ripened Raspberry body wash in the shower.  I thought you were a great smelling bunch.

God love the Starbucks drive through.  I spilled my Diet DP in my cup holders last FRIDAY and hadn't cleaned it up today when I drove through.  Where's a gal to put her new latte?  Thank you for the one napkin you gave me upon request.  Upon further request ("Can I have a few more... I have a little spill here..."), thanks for the ONE additional napkin.  Clearly, you have a napkin shortage that I don't know about.  Is this why your prices are so reasonable?  Hahahaha.  That is a joke.  $4 for a latte is RIDICULOUS but I love them.

God love the Starbucks re-fillable card.  I have always thought adding money to a gift card was a lame idea until I started loving lattes on a budget.  Now when the money is gone, it's gone until the next month.

God love adulthood.  This last week I bore myself to tears talking about and thinking about insurance declaration forms and competing prices.  We started using Target brand diapers.  Please, send me back to B Street and Mac's Drive In!

God love antibiotics.  I can now swallow.  God love the PA who saw me.  I was nearly in tears... a royal hot mess.  I thought I had strep throat and you told me it was an EAR infection that had my glands out of sorts.  Well, my bad... wrong body part.  I can't swallow... I assumed that meant throat.  I think I saw you holding back a little laugh.  And I'm sorry about my looks.  I am realizing that I look awful most times I end up in the doctor.  No sleep, no make-up, crying and feeling awful (or going through this with a sick kid) just does not look good on me.

God love my husband.  He bought me sweet-tarts.  I am on a diet, honey.  And I can't suck the fantastic sugar off these.  I am basically licking them.  But I'll choke them down.  Dog gone it, they are so good! (You know how to cheer me up!)  One roll is 3 points.  Totally worth it to me.

God love people with convertibles in Nebraska.  You are living in the 30 good days a YEAR here to sport one... so enjoy it while you can.  Soon it will be so hot you'll wish your garage was air conditioned just to walk to your cool car.

God love Kendra.  Your "shocking" Season Finale has given me something to look forward to all week.  Let's just give a fist pump for the E! Network as a whole.  I love you.  I try not to watch TV with Dekker all day... but you are my weak spot.  Sometimes you play movies and I am secretly relieved.  "Trash In, Trash Out."

God love a sunrise before 10AM.  Seriously.  It feels great to get up at 7 and know that the sun has beat me up long ago.  Thank goodness it's not -19, windy and snowing anymore.  I love, love, love spring and fall!

God love my friend, Sara C.  You stalk my blog and I love you for it.  You are going to be a MOM.  Get ready for a fantastic ride that will change your life!  We are so excited for you and Mark-y and Baby J.  You will be awesome parents and I hope you get as much a kick out of parenthood as we do.

And... God Love Fridays!

On the journey,


Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Favorite Things

My favorite landscaping company: EC Lawn and Landscaping.  Just can not beat their prices.  And they do great work.  And I get no discount that now the 10 of you who read this know about them!

My favorite stores: Gap, Ann Taylor Loft, New York and Company, and any shoe store.

Did you know that I worked in a shoe store FOREVER.  First, I worked in a shoe store in McCook named "Browns Shoe Fit."  I started there when I was 15 and was honestly an excellent shoe salesperson.  I love shoes and I love people.  And I joke that it was actually my first therapy job.  You'd be surprised what people tell you while you're fitting their shoes... "These are for my son's wedding... I don't even know why I'm spending any money on them... She has never liked me anyway... ..."  I am not kidding you.   Or... "I need some black dress shoes for this suit.  My dad just passed."  Oh my heart.  Or this... "I'm getting into shape this year.  I need some new tennis shoes."  I would have sold that person a New Balance shoe for sure.  And probably some socks ("You can use these unwashed ones in the bin or buy a package off the shelf.  It's totally up to you...") so I got a better "multiple sale" commission.  Or "I need something for a wedding this weekend" ... or "My wife is pregnant and needs some good sandals for her swelling feet."  Oh I loved that job.  When I moved to Norfolk to attend Nebraska Christian College I transferred to the Browns there and again, loved it.  I moved to Lincoln and guess what?  A Browns Shoe Fit opened up there and I worked a ton.  I always got better grades when I worked-- I needed the structure.  I eventually quit to gain "experience in the field."  Honestly, I was tired of the weekends and nights. :)  And I did LOVE working for CSF while doing my internship with Visinet.  I'd love to link Visinet for you, but they were recently shut down.  (Insert Debbie Downer music here...)

My favorite interior designer: Kim Hazlip.  Email her at  She kept me under budget, helped me reuse things, shopped Target sales, and still made my hearth room such a beautiful space for our family.  In the end I am CERTAIN that she saved me money.

My favorite TV Show: The Office, hands down.

My favorite night out: Dinner and a movie.  Or movie and late night sushi.

My favorite night in: Sushi and Saturday Night Live.

Favorite Food: ... ... ... sushi... ... you guessed it!

My favorite cabinet company: Flair Custom Cabinets (our good friend Steve's dad owns this).  We had our kitchen estimated by them before we decided to be REALLY cheap and paint and we were very impressed.  Can't go without also mentioning that we also LOVE Millard Lumber, who we used for our bathroom and hardware and absolutely love it.  They have incredible service and a great show room.  It helps when you share a last name with the Vice President.  (Love you, Don).

Favorite baby book: It's a tie between Good Night Sleep Tight and Baby Bargains.

Favorite parenting book: 8 Myths (yadayadayada... how many times will I shove this down your throats, I know).

Favorite Sound: My son laughing.  My husband laughing.  Okay, I love laughter.  My husband makes me laugh almost constantly... sometimes until my sides hurt.  Sometimes I make Dave laugh and I love that, too.  Oh, and Dekker started saying "Mamama" this week.  Music to my ears.  I also love the sound of hitting it big in Vegas.  I think.  Yeah, I'm very sure I would love that.

Favorite nap time activity:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Before and After

The long awaited-- or long prepared for-- ... ... "Before" and "After."

These are the "before" shoes I gave up in Vegas after wearing them out to a club (where I was referred to as "rather covered up") until 3AM.  My feet were killing me so I threw them away and vowed to find another pair at the end of the season on sale...

These are the adorable "after" shoes I found on the sale rack at DSW with an extra 15% off.  I don't even know this brand, but I set the shoe up by the box for extra effect.  I love the heel and the button details.  I doubted myself if I could find these but I am sure I will love them all next winter...

The kitchen table "before."  This table is 30+ years old and I love it.  I hate to sale it on Craigslist but I hate even more storing it in my basement for ever.  This table was with me since my apartments and has been the home to several small group meals, shared dinners with friends, our first family meals with Dekker, and several quiet nights with Dave and me.  It was also our "family table" growing up in McCook, where my mom and dad made sure that-- even with two athletes, games, activities, etc that we sat down and ate together nearly every night.

The "after" table, which you all know by now, I found on Craigslist (I even amazed myself on that one) and fits our new space perfectly!

The "before" of the fireplace mantel.  I think this is referred to as a "hearth."  Note the color of the hearth, the picture above it, and all the pictures on it...

The "after" hearth.  I love everything about it, including my great-grandma's sugar and creamer inside the square boxes, the sea shells from Jamaica, and wedding picture of my grandparents.

The "before" picture of my new sitting area would be totally blank because there was nothing there.  I have been stumped on how to use this space for a long time, like 3.5 years since we moved into this space.  So thanks to my incredible friend and interior designer, Kim, I have a new area that we have been using a ton!  I love to pull the bottom basket of toys out and sit on that yummy rug with Dekker.  We also use these chairs a lot when we have company, or when one of us is cooking...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Difference of One Year

First, I want to tell you about my fabulous Saturday:

* Dekker woke up at 8AM after going to bed at 7:30 the night before.  Dave was already up and I have a sore throat so he got up with Dekker and loved on him, got breakfast, etc and I had a really weird dream and got up around 9.

* We played with Dekker in the living room and got the kitchen together.  About 10:30 I took him down to his new swing under the deck where he sat  and drank water from his big boy sippy cup.  He was very content just to be outside.  Dave was mowing, and it was beautiful.  I didn't even have to keep pushing him to keep him happy-- he just was.

I potted my three back patio pots full of Impatients.  Last year these pots did great so I hope this is the case again.

Last Year's Pots:

*We came in from outside and made some lunch.  I took Dekker's highchair out on the deck where I also ate and potted another pot.  Then we came in, cooled off and played a little, then I put him down for his nap.
* Dekker's naps have very much improved, thank goodness.  He napped for 2.5 hours-- which is about average for him.  It's still on the short side in my opinion, but he very consistently wakes up about then.  Dave and I enjoyed the peace and quiet, I showered, and even laid down for awhile-- still not feeling 100%.
* Dekker got up, and we all went to Menards.  Got some more potting soil and some sprinkler replacement parts.
* Came home and played in the living room.  I potted the two front pots and I ran out of potting soil again and I still don't think they have enough in them... ug.  Did I mention that I also watered and fertilized all these said pots.  I am determined to have beautiful, overflowing pots that basically no one sees.

Just a few of this year's pots so far:

* Fab evening with one meltdown from Dekker.  He had dinner.  At one point Dave and I were both sitting in our chairs and he was just playing all around on the living room floor.  For almost ONE MINUTE I felt sad that he is this big-- big enough to look through the toybox, find what he wants, and pull it out and sit there and independently play with it!  What the Heck.  But on the other hand I was so relieved.

Last May we had a screaming baby.  I love this weather and I spent all my time inside praying to God that things would get better and feeling guilty that I wasn't more thankful and feeling in love with my child.  At that time I talked to a friend of mine who also had a screaming MSPI baby at one point in her life and she reminded me that weekends are usually a little harder because we have different expectations for Saturday and Sunday-- more laid back, restful... (like today!)  But 18 hours of screaming later, I was pulling my hair out.

Now do you see why I struggle to have another baby???

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Irons on the fire... updated

Hi Friends-- time for a mini update and some pics!

Awhile back I posted about "productivity coming in streaks."  So today I wanted to give a little update to remind you all, and myself, that life goes on... ... (today's comments are in red) ... comments from the original post are in black.

* Dekker's birthday party-- I was really stressed out about this but for no reason.  We had such a terrific weekend and in the blink of an eye it was over and my baby was a toddler.  Sweet thing.

* Hosting Easter Dinner for my folks and Dave's.  Again, timely and lovely.  I decided that since we're already driving to the bakery for the treats we might as well just buy the bread rolls she's been gushing about on facebook.  They were worth every penny.  We survived this, too, and had a special Easter moment with our boy.  We also had our first "by the tree" picture.  My mom took a picture of my brother and I every year at Easter until it became a family joke.

* I have decided that for some reason this year we MUST have the AC unit inspected.  This was done as well.  All clear, and we will have it done differently next time :) Live and learn.

* Decided this would be a good time for another round with the landscaping guy (part of my quest for simplicity).  The "throw money at it" is getting rather expensive now!  I just want an estimate on taking out some MORE of the shrubbery in our yard-- more lawn please, plus a spring clean up/cut back (this currently takes us almost two full weekends-- and I cuss out the former owners the entire 4 days), plus I want to know how much to totally remove the so-not-kid-friendly pond.  We'll see what he comes back with, tomorrow at 1:30.  Ug, there went my morning nap picking up dog poop. Well he came and we said yes and we are pond-less.  It is almost done.  The mulch looks fantastic and so does the old pond area-- will look better when it's totally done (look for the upcoming "Before and After" post).

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

No Offense...

Well, I have been having some moments of wondering if I will EVER be ready for baby #2.  I am not pregnant, so don't start thinking that's why I look thicker than normal.  In fact, just the other day I was at Wal-Greens giving them the $80 that my insurance won't pay for my birth control and the lady behind the counter says, "Looks like you have to pay full price.  Darn."  As I swipe my card I say, "Cheaper than a baby."  She laughed hysterically like I had said a joke.  No, mam, I've done the math-- trust me, it's cheaper.

Anyway, the other day on Kathie Lee and Hoda's extra hour to the Today Show (why oh why do I watch this?), Kathie Lee says to someone that she was prepared to love her second child, but was unprepared for the beauty of watching her children love one another, or something like that... maybe she was paraphrasing someone else??  That gives me some hope.  But I'm pretty sure that I should have more hope than that found on the Today show before I go jumping into things.

I used to say that I hoped I would get pregnant on accident because I was pretty sure I would never intentionally try and get pregnant.  I have had such a horrible go on birth control-- which is why I pay $80 a month for one that doesn't make me feel like crap-- and Dave and I did Natural Family Planning, (very successfully by the way-- I love the book Taking Control of Your Fertility)-- for several, several months before we "tried" to get pregnant with Dekker.  So it was possible that we would get pregnant on accident, but we didn't.   Where am I going here... ... I guess I just wanted to say that I am so glad that we did get pregnant with Dekker (intentionally or not) because he is such a joy in my life.  He is incredible.  And we did intentionally try because I had come to that place in my heart where I wanted a baby (especially after the miscarriage)-- even though I was NOT completely at peace about it.  I was a nervous wreck-- but it was okay-- better than okay, actually.  Now I'm wondering if I will ever come to that place in my heart again.  It almost makes me sad.

I do baby math at amazing speed.  And I know that if I want Dekker and his future brother/sister to be 2 years apart that I need to get pregnant this summer.   And that's not happening according to my plans.  Then I think-- 2 1/2 or 3 years apart?  Could I get pregnant between this winter and next summer.  Maybe.  Will I ever have a peace about this?  My friend once told me that she woke up one day and everything in her life was no longer baby.  Her little girl had grown up so fast and suddenly she just wanted another baby.  I am honestly praying that I will get to that place in the next year.  And who do I think I am?  I hope I can get pregnant as easily as I did anyway.

I worry about having to go through some of the awfulness again.  Like what if I miscarry?  What if I can't get pregnant?  I got really anxious at every ultrasound.  What if my second baby cries all day?  I almost cry thinking about that!  How would I take care of a screaming baby AND a toddler?  Or a not screaming baby for that matter.  In some ways I want a second baby to re-do a lot of those first 6 months.  I want to replace those awful memories and depression with something wonderful.  But what if that doesn't happen?  The chance that it won't is enough to keep shelling out $80 a month at the Wal-Greens counter with the not-so-funny-lady.

Then I think about how having a baby will change my relationship with Dekker and I want to cry again.  (Man, maybe I am pregnant-- so emotional.)  Nope, I am just not ready.  If I got pregnant tonight, I would be ready in 9 months.  But my heart just isn't beating that way.

Before I got a dog I had a lot of friends encourage me to get a dog. 

Friday, May 14, 2010

Mulhalls Has It ALL

I had a fantastic experience at Mulhalls.  I think they deserve a brief shout out to the 10 of you who read this blog...

* As you know, I went to their store last Friday and had a terrible experience... largely in part to the Customer (Un)Service Counter.  The lady there had scowled at me, "Do you want assistance?"  Then pointed to go "Down that way, then turn half way."  I was livid.  And no one met me and I was embarrassed and tearful and came home and wrote a nasty gram off their website.

* On the same day Mr. Mulhall e-mailed me his apology and I also got an email from his associate, who used to manage the houseplant section and now is the director of employees, or something.  She and I arranged a time to meet, which we did Wednesday at 4.

* She was fantastic and hooked me up with exactly what I was looking for.  The plants look great in my newly improved and almost done hearth room.  Then we stopped and talked for several minutes to discuss what I felt could have been done differently.  She was fantastic, and I feel genuinely cared about my opinion.  We talked about maybe needing more signs, or more clarity at the Customer Service counter.  I told her that I doubt many people would know that a "tropical" is a house plant. And that if I want crappy service that I will go to Wal-Mart, but that I came to her store for just the opposite, which was why I was so disappointed.  She apologized again and again, and honestly, it's all good.

Well, my plants are lovely and I will go back to Mulhalls.  I'm pretty sure my experience wasn't typical, and if it happens again (which I doubt it will) I have Mr. Mulhalls personal phone line.

Case closed.

On the journey,


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Is Parenting Our Highest Calling?

(First, I need to give credit where credit is due and thank Leslie Leyland-Fields for her incredible book, Parenting Is Your Highest Calling and 8 Other Myths That Trap Us In Worry and Guilt.  I believe this book is a must read for all women and greatly influenced my message on Sunday and the way I view parenting.  Buying this book for yourself would be a fantastic gift that you are well deserving of.  Oh Leslie, if you read this or ever listen to my sermon, know that I never intended to plagiarize on purpose-- if I did!  I love your book so much that its words have become my own.)

Is Parenting Our Highest Calling?

Well if you joined us at Stonebridge on Sunday you will know that my answer to this question is... No.

But hang with me.

Matthew 10:37-39 (New International Reader's Version)

37 "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. Anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And anyone who does not pick up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 If anyone finds his life, he will lose it. If anyone loses his life because of me, he will find it.

Excerpt from Sunday's message:

The highest call of our lives today is the very same message that was given by Jesus to his disciples thousands of years ago. We are called to Love God... above all else.

As a church culture we remind ourselves often not to make a God out of money, or work or appearances. But our family? It is very easy to worship our family. In fact, I believe that as parents our biggest and never ending temptation is to unseat Jesus from his royal throne and replace him with our family. God calls us to an exclusive love for him that consumes our hearts, souls, minds-- all that we are. We need to heed the words in Exodus: “Do not worship any other God” (Exodus 34:14).

Hear me clearly, I am not telling you to love your family less, I am encouraging you to love God more.

So I spoke these words on Sunday and women all throughout the church nodded their heads.  They understood that they want to put God first, even before wonderful and awesome things like their family-- God is WORTHY of being #1 in our lives.  And any worship before the worship of God is misplaced.

Then today I got this e-mail from someone in our church:

"...It really hit home because parenting can be so rewarding, but so hard, just like life in general!  And just a reminder of needing to put Jesus 1st!!!!  Now the trick is just doing that!"

She is right-- now the trick is "just doing that."  So this is my hope for community and discussion today-- HOW do we act out in our daily lives making Jesus our first priority? How do we still put Jesus first when our daily tasks are so demanding... when we are chasing children, wiping behinds, making lunch, running errands, cleaning house and changing laundry?

So think about this for a brief moment, hit comment, and let the rest of us know your thoughts.  We might as well help one another on this journey, too.

On the journey.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Post-Sermon Recap

"I will survive... I will survive... I will survive..."

I most certainly survived Mother's Day at Stonebridge.  In fact, it was a kick.  Here is a run down of my second Mother's Day.

Well, we still start the night before.  Saturday we drove home from a wonderful mini-trip to see my folks and my grandparents, who had already drove 13 hours from Colorado to see us and Dekker.  We got home around 5:00 and Dave was so gracious to encourage me to go lay down and rest, which I did from about 6:30-8:00.  I got up and we ordered late-night sushi.  You bet we did.  I could think of nothing I wanted more, for Saturday night and for Mother's Day and for something to keep my mind of the next morning.  Plus, I was pretty sure I could be to bed by 10:30 and I don't think I would have gotten to bed earlier anyway.  SNL was a riot Saturday night, but I was pretty disciplined to go to bed before it was over because I had a few warnings that Sunday would be exhausting.

6:45: Alarm goes off.  I turn it off.  I go back to sleep.

7:15: I wake up and panic about what time it is.  I can usually depend on Dekker to be a little "alarm clock" but he has been sleeping in lately, a side effect (glorious) of switching him to one nap-- he's "catching up" on his sleep at night b/c he doesn't yet nap as long as he should.  Anyway, once I realize what time it is I start to remember the dream I had from 6:45-7:15.  In my dream I arrived at the church and couldn't find my manuscript.  Then, I realized I wasn't preaching to the big church, but in a side room for "children's" church, but there were no children in there... just a few adults, one who had a video camera that I didn't know.  Anyway, I am a counselor (you know) but in all my education I have had one 30 minute lecture on dream analysis.  And this is what I know... "Don't focus on the details of the dream, but how you felt during the dream."  Well, I can tell you that during this dream I felt disappointed.  So I had a little pep talk with myself that obviously in the back part of my mind that I WANTED to do this, and that I would be disappointed if I didn't.  And that is true.

7:25: Realize last nights hair is not going to work.  Stick head under running water and start over.  Kick myself for not getting a new straight iron and am SO THANKFUL that I borrowed Beth's on Thursday.  Life Saver!

7:45-8:30: Get dressed, make-up and hair and breakfast.  Talk myself into wearing more make-up than usual, especially eye liner and lipstick, because heaven only knows that those lights on that stage are not exactly flattering.  I ate oatmeal for breakfast.  I reasoned that it was low points and that it would keep me full.  I was correct.

8:45: Arrive at church.  So glad I was early.  I proofed the power-point and did find some corrections, namely the translation they were using was different than my manuscript.

9:30: Service One begins.  I am loving worship.  My husband, sister-in-law and mother-in-law are there.  They are so sweet and I feel so incredibly blessed.  I am standing shoulder to shoulder with our senior pastor, Mark.  He is the only person who sings louder and worse than me, so I love standing by him.  I feel like I can all but shout and scream my praises and no one knows.

You should know here that one of my greatest fears of public speaking is that my microphone will accidentally turn on during worship.  I shudder thinking about it.  My other fears are arm pit stains/sweat marks and having my zipper down.

10:00: A nice introduction from Pastor Mark and we're on our way.  I felt great.  I love public speaking, even though it really does make me nervous.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Don't Mind Me...

First, an apology to the three of you who check this regularly.   I have been trying to post regularly on Tuesday and Thursday and I am back on the wagon next week, okay!  I have been struggling with MATERIAL this week.  But today I have a little time to "catch up."  Love to you all.

Don't Mind Me

Don't Mind Me... teachers of my neighbor boy.  I know I am texting him all day when he is in school.  But I need someone to take care of my dog, who I nearly forgot to arrange plans for, while I am gone Friday night.  Such a bad puppy parent.  Thankfully, he works super odd hours, so between him and his folks Josie will probably be more spoiled than when we're home!

Don't Mind Me... I'm just finally putting away the laundry I washed and folded last Friday.  Boy, these baskets look like they have been sifted through all week while a certain someone dug out just the clothes he needed for the day and left the rest in the basket.  Odd...

Don't Mind Me... unhelpful and rude lady at Mulhalls.  I could go another 28 years without you yelling out over your walkie talkie "I'm sending someone your way in a RED SWEAT SHIRT."  You don't have to talk about me like I'm not three feet from you!  And don't mind me, but directions like "Go down that way and then turn half way down" are not enough in a HUGE nursery.  If Hy-Vee walks me to the product and their aisles are numbered, surely you can do better.

Don't Mind Me... man who DID NOT meet me and my red sweat shirt near the house plants.

Don't Mind Me... man who gets the Mulhalls website e-mails who got a nasty gram from me today. (Oh heavens, update, I just got a message from Mr. Mulhalls himself.  He wants to talk about my experience and make it better...stay tuned)

Don't Mind Me... Yon, the lady who threads my eyebrows.  I'm not sure "You have really long eyebrows" is a compliment, but I'll take it.

Don't Mind Me... to the 1200 people who will listen to me preach on Sunday.  I just broke out in a sweat thinking about it.  I borrowed a sweater to wear, the manuscript is in, the program is done... so all that's left is... me.  (This, by the way, explains my non-posting this week.  Every last minute I had without daycare was spent on it!  I have been preaching to my closet doors all week.  Don't mind the crazy lady next door who talks to herself all day...)

Don't Mind Me... to the people who I have (basically) stole stuff from off Craigslist this week.  And to my neighbors, I know it seems funny that we keep coming home with the trailer loaded up with something... but we went on a poor man's shopping spree.  We love our new daybed, table and chairs, and weight set.

Don't Mind Me... to the landscaping company.  Our yard was suppose to be done by Easter.  I know it has been raining a lot.  And we're not in a big hurry.  Just communicate with us a little better next time, okay.  We still love you, and your super reasonable prices.